Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tutorial: Attaching and Joining Double Fold Bias Binding


In preparation for the release of our latest Tessuti Pattern - Valerie Top.  I thought I'd post  a step-by-step tutorial on how to sew and join together bias binding.

This tutorial is included in the sewing instructions, but here I've added extra images and  you can see them in colour. Click on any of these photos for more detail.

In our latest patterns we've recommended using a double fold bias binding (cut in self fabric). This is similar to double-fold french binding that is used to bind quilts, but for garments the binding is much narrower. Obviously this sort of bias binding sewn on the double, only works in finer fabrics like lightweight cottons, linens, silks etc. I love this method of binding, it's easier and gives a nicer finish. It can be used for narrower inside edge binding (as shown here) or for wider bindings to edge both the inner and outer garment. 

Note: The binding strip used for this top is 1 and one quarter inch wide to finish 3/8" wide.

Here is our tutorial on sewing and joining double fold binding:

Secure neckline and armholes with either vilene shields or stay stitching.

Press armhole and neck bindings in half lengthways (wrong sides together), taking care not to stretch when pressing.

Armhole Binding: Pin raw edges of binding to armhole edges, making sure to leave a generous tail of binding evenly at both ends, at either side of side seam.

After pinning binding around armhole edges, place a chalk mark onto the binding approx 2-3” away from the side seam. 

This is where you will start to sew the binding on and finish at chalk mark at other end. Make sure to sew ¼” seam allowance.   

Next, take one tail of bias binding and align with side seam, pin in place. Mark seam point with a chalk mark on binding. Repeat with other tail.

Make a straight and small scissor nick at the chalk mark

Making sure to also catch the other side of folded binding at the exact same point. 

Open up your folded binding tape and run a chalk mark down from nick to nick on the wrong side of the binding. Repeat on other tail.

With right sides together, overlap the opened bindings over each other at these nick/chalk markings. Make sure that the chalk marks ( see yellow chalk mark) align with the centre fold crease on the binding. Check that the other side looks the same. Pin together as shown in photo above. 

Diagonally across  the bindings is where you will stitch and join together the binding ( see white chalk mark on photo above).

Stitch in the direction of pin, as shown in photo above.

HANDY TIP: Before joining the bindings together, you can place a small square of tear-away Vilene behind this area. This is particularly useful in keeping bindings secure and stable, especially when sewing soft voiles, georgettes or silks. 

Simply cut out a Vilene square (big enough to cover your area) pin together behind bindings and sew.

 Tear away Vilene when finished. 

Trim back the excess tails,

 leaving a ¼” seam allowance near your stitches and press seam open. 

Now that the binding is joined correctly, you should have a continuous binding tape with a diagonal seam.

Repress the binding in half.

Pin this to the rest of armhole edge near side seam. 

For Neckline Binding - Repeat the step above (armhole binding) but for the neckline binding, leave the binding tails near one shoulder seam.

Tear away Vilene shields around armholes and neckline. 

Turn binding out and pin stitch edge of binding, catching neck seam at back.

Lastly, pin binding evenly around neckline and armholes on wrong side of garment and edge stitch bottom edge of binding. 

This will create your topstitch detail around neckline and armholes on the right side of garment. Done!

Hope you find this tutorial useful.


  1. thanks very much for this tute! I do have to say that maybe this particular fabric used was not the best choice for viewing right/wrong sides, markings and joins etc. but the instructions are clear. I like the vilene square tip too. Can I ask how much fabric is usually needed to make the binding?

  2. Hi Bronwyn,

    Thank you for leaving a comment. Yes you are absolutely right...bad fabric choice, but whilst making a top, I thought I'd photograph the binding process. Click on the images and you can see my text indicating wrong side and may even see a seam.

    At some stage I'll replace with images on a plain fabric with contrasting of these days!

    I squeeze in my bias strips in my pattern layout when cutting my pattern so can't give you exact amount, but when cutting bias strips in a contrast fabric I approx for 50-60cm . The bias strip in this pattern is 65cm long allowing for room to leave tails.

  3. Great tutorial, thankyou. I have never been good at joining Bias binding. I will definitely try this next time.

  4. Thanks for very useful tutorial. Very nice pictures step-by-step.

  5. Quick question about your bias tape, when you cut it and iron in half, do you open the bias tape when pinning it to the neck line or do you sew it to the neck line still folded in half then you flip it to the back side and stitch in the ditch? this making a really slim bias tape?

    1. Hi Stacy Dougan, yes you sew it to the neckline or armhole still folded in half and then flip to the back side. Note: The only time you will need to open up the bias tape is when you need to join the ends together, then you refold again when attaching it.


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